How do you feel about copying premium flashlight designs?

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ChibiM
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How do you feel about copying premium flashlight designs?

The title says it all.

How do you feel about copying premium flashlight designs?

 

Imagine someone (designer) coming up with a great flashlight design, and manually building the flashlight from the ground up to a 'high end flashlight', and a knock off comes along the way, trying to get a market share.

 

How much do you personally care about the artist  (designer) vs the knock off?

 

Muto
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Fake Rolex’s are sold everyday and it does not affect the Genuine article one bit.

So, the knockoff has it’s expectancy as does the original.

Read this recently,
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emarkd
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Whether it takes money out of the original designer’s pocket or not (sometimes it definitely does, sometimes it may not…), I don’t like it and I won’t knowingly support it. “Idea” theft is still theft and I hate a thief.

That said, derivative and iterative designs come along all the time and I don’t usually think there’s anything wrong with that. Its a gray area though, and just one of those things that I think each person has to define for themselves. I know when I see something that I think crosses the line from “inspired by..” to “stolen from..”, but my line may not be exactly where everyone else’s is.

Binford
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Let’s say, there are only so many ways a flashlight can look like if you use cylindrical cells and the product design involves a reflector. Traditional flashlights are almost like smartphones. They more or less all look similar or have very similar design traits. They are like T-shirts.

Three quarters of all my flashlights are black, round, have 1 cell and an emitter behind a reflector. If I showed those to random people I know they would never see a difference.

It would be a different story if someone purchased a flashlight, disassembled it completely and re-engineered the entire product down to the driver circuit and then mass produced a light under a different name. I am sure this has happened in the past, but that effort would not always be worthy of your time, effort and investment.

Henk4U2
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First and foremost: I’m afraid that how I feel does not matter. Certainly not in a material/financial sense.
- If the designer has not taken any steps to “protect” his design, anyone can make countless copies.
It would not be the first time that a copycat wins a patent-race and then sues the designer of the original.
- If the designer has taken every possible step to protect his design and it still is copied,
it will be difficult and costly to win the legal battle. Especially in certain parts of the world.

The good news is that anybody can make a copy of anything as long as it is ment to be for own use.

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

Streamer
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I welcome it. This also translates to say…. grocery store items. The “store brand” , more times than not but not always, is identical to the “higher priced competitor’s brand”. Most of the time, it saves me lots of bucks. Money in my pocket.

Same goes for electronics.

BurningPlayd0h
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I pay for the physical product and the labor that went into it’s production, not the ownership of an idea, which is a ridiculous concept.

tempo
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i would have to think really hard to squeeze any clear answer out of me. i never cared for 500$+ premium flashlights say McGizmo Mac's Customs HDS Oveready, i'm simply not in that kind of market. so if ReyLight or FW is able to copy a design with similar HQ materials, then it's all good and fun and imho an enrichment to the market and i might bite.

 

so far i haven't bitten. i find Reylight and FW flashlight designs equally awful thanks. 

sb56637
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I don’t mind it as long as the replica doesn’t try to mislead buyers into thinking that it’s the real thing.

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Henk4U2
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BurningPlayd0h wrote:
I pay for the physical product and the labor that went into it’s production, not the ownership of an idea, which is a ridiculous concept.

And still. Remember who said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
If you wanna pay just for the glowbulb that works, who will get the bill for the 10,000 that did not?
So Thomas Alva Edison did the wise thing, he patented his invention.
In fact he was so wise that he bought patents from other inventors, by the thousands!
He lost money on most of those patents, but struck a bonanza with a few of them.

You are a flashaholic if you are forced to come out of the closet, to make room for more flashlights.

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If you’re talking about just a basic form (a specific led, built-in charging, dual switches, etc) then I don’t see a problem with that. But if you’re talking about reverse engineering proprietary parts (patented, etc) then to me that’s theft and as such I’m against it. Companies/people should be rewarded for their efforts and if not then what’s the incentive to create new and better things?

Ozythemandias
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I don’t understand this question.

If you’re making a product, did you come up with the design? If you didn’t, it’s not yours and shockingly, you can’t use stuff that isn’t yours without permission.

As consumers, I guess it’s up to the individual if they want to help support thievery.

 

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
I welcome copycats.

ChrisGarrett
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My little sister is a prominent US Patent Attorney, so that’s my answer…

Chris

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sb56637 wrote:
I don’t mind it as long as the replica doesn’t try to mislead buyers into thinking that it’s the real thing.

I think this is a big deal. DO NOT try to sell me something that is counterfeit.

I think there is a difference between a design “inspired by” another product and one that is “blatantly ripped off”. I have no problem with something that build on the innovation of others, but to simply steal the whole thing and just “clone” it feels wrong to me.

SKV89
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If there’s no patent then anyone can copy. Like someone mentioned above, Costco, Safeways, Walgreens, etc. Have tons of copycat products that shamelessly say “compare with” identical name brand products that they copy from. This saves consumers a ton of money.

Even Apple, Samsung, Huawei copy each other constantly. One company comes out with a new feature and the following year you see it on competitors’ phones. Apple comes out with the 2x zoom, Samsung copies, Apple removes earphone jack, everyone copies, Apple comes out with Live photos, everyone copies, Apple introduces Touch ID, everyone copies, Apple comes out with the notch everyone copies, Huawei comes out with the multiple camera with TOF, Samsung and Apple copies, Huawei comes out with reverse wireless charging, Samsung copies and renames it Powershare, Huawei comes out with gradient finishes, Samsung and others copy, Huawei releases night mode, Google and Samsung copies, Huawei developes ultra fast charge, Samsung and others copy, Huawei uses large batteries and have incredible battery life forces Samsung and others to follow suit, Samsung uses curved oled screens, Huawei and others copy, Samsung finds success in large screen phones, Apple eventually followed with the the Plus, Samsung comes up with idea of foldable phones, Huawei, Google, Apple copies, Huawei does it better with the much more practical outward folding MateX phone, Samsung will copy in future versions of the Galaxy Fold.

moeman
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I am not a fan of knockoffs. I will not support someone or a company that makes knockoffs.

Binford
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Are there even 100% knockoffs in the flashlight world? Which lights are exact copies of the original, down to the driver and firmware? I have heard on forums and videos that people do clone items, but I have never seen them personally.

After years of buying/testing electronics I have yet to see a complete carbon copy. And, if they were exact copies – how would a customer go about detecting them? (check the serial number on the OEM website?)

Ozythemandias
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Binford wrote:
Are there even 100% knockoffs in the flashlight world? Which lights are exact copies of the original, down to the driver and firmware? I have heard on forums and videos that people do clone items, but I have never seen them personally.

After years of buying/testing electronics I have yet to see a complete carbon copy. And, if they were exact copies – how would a customer go about detecting them? (check the serial number on the OEM website?)

The wording of the OP sounds like their talking about the appearance and physical design, more specifically of small high end makers.

 

egrep
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You’re asking how I feel about thievery? About someone not having the skill or respect to create something original, like what I offer with a sense pride and accomplishment to people that support my artistic creations? About capitalizing on my hard work and financial risk?

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BurningPlayd0h
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Henk4U2 wrote:
BurningPlayd0h wrote:
I pay for the physical product and the labor that went into it’s production, not the ownership of an idea, which is a ridiculous concept.

And still. Remember who said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
If you wanna pay just for the glowbulb that works, who will get the bill for the 10,000 that did not?
So Thomas Alva Edison did the wise thing, he patented his invention.
In fact he was so wise that he bought patents from other inventors, by the thousands!
He lost money on most of those patents, but struck a bonanza with a few of them.

I don’t have any ethical or moral obligation to buy from the first person to come up with something. If another person or company can create a product that through lower price or better features entices me to buy theirs instead, more power to them.

The payment the first person to create something gets is the chance to sell it first. If it’s easy enough for someone else to clone it and get it to market at the same time, there wasn’t much time or effort invested in the first place.

raccoon city
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I'm all about value for money.

If that means clones or copies or fakes, so be it.

DavidEF
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As others have said, I don’t mind an aesthetic “knockoff” as long as it doesn’t try to pass itself as the original. And in the history of flashlights, there have even been several times that the “copycat” light was better than the light it was a copy of. I welcome that. Party Thumbs Up

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Whut’s constitutes a “premium flashlight design”? They’re mostly just cylindrical tubes with one shiny end and one clicky end. Even decent lights are pretty much dime-a-dozen in the Grand Scheme Of Things.

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koziy
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I personally think that the US government should use the rampant, unchecked counterfeiting and exportation of counterfeit goods, and theft of American intellectual property, as a reason to put a tactical trade embargo on China and any other country that allows it until they can get their act together. The US government’s job is to protect American interests, not Chinese businesses’/government interests.

That said, I’m not talking about flashlights that are “inspired by” some type of flashlight, or which are one company’s “answer to” some other company’s flashlight. I’m talking bootlegs. If you go on ebay and search for a Spyderco pocket knife, a ton of the results will be knives that look almost exactly like the real thing….but aren’t. If you go on Amazon and search for SanDisk SD cards, a ton of the results will look just like the real thing…but aren’t. It is a deceptive business practice to take someone’s money and give them a fake imitation of what they thought they were buying, not to mention the theft of intellectual property that occurred in the production of the product.

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The problem with patents is, they stop innovation.
But just copying a light is bad, please use some creativity

koziy
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Yokiamy wrote:
The problem with patents is, they stop innovation.

How is that?

SKV89
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koziy wrote:
Yokiamy wrote:
The problem with patents is, they stop innovation.

How is that?

Simple Wavien / RLT collars. If it weren’t for the stupid patent, we would have throwers that throw twice as much candelas. The Acebeam K75 would be a 3MCD thrower instead of 1.6MCD. The Emisar D1S would be a 600kcd thrower with the White Flat. The Jaxman Z1 would do 800kcd.

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koziy wrote:
Yokiamy wrote:
The problem with patents is, they stop innovation.

How is that?

When they stifle competition, or are abused. Eg, light + filter (eg, red, ZWB2, etc.) is pretty obvious and common-sense, but some schmo has a patent on the idea (so much for “non-obvious”) and keeps you from buying a light with a preinstalled filter.

Or Apple’s “rectangle with rounded corners” design patent. Umm, doesn’t that describe most phones in existence?

A lot of patents seem to be vomited out pretty willy-nilly just to get that throughput without bothering to engage too many brain-cells, that should and would fail the common-sense test.

I’m not even going to touch on patent-trolls who just buy patents, sit on them, and sue those who might (or might not!) be “infringing”.

No pollie would even think to add a use-it-or-lose-it condition to patents, to either use them or license them out in good faith, or they expire within a much much shorter timeframe, to prevent patent-trolls from stifling innovation.

Eg, anyone who buys rights to a patent MUST put the idea into production within 1yr, or it reverts to the original owner with no repayment. So Troll, Inc. can’t just buy someone’s patent on a shiny can-opener, do nothing with it, but then sue anyone whose design comes close to said can-opener. If you buy it, you damned well better manufacture can-openers within 1yr, using the idea in the patent, or it reverts back to Joe Inventor for free.

Nah, that’d make too much sense…

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koziy
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SKV89 wrote:
koziy wrote:
Yokiamy wrote:
The problem with patents is, they stop innovation.

How is that?

Simple Wavien / RLT collars. If it weren’t for the stupid patent, we would have throwers that throw twice as much candelas. The Acebeam K75 would be a 3MCD thrower instead of 1.6MCD. The Emisar D1S would be a 600kcd thrower with the White Flat. The Jaxman Z1 would do 800kcd.

Couldn’t the argument be made that without the ability to patent inventions that require resources to develop, there would be no LED’s to begin with, since no company would want to invest their resources into something they weren’t able to monopolize the sale of, so as to recover the development costs and grow their business?

xevious
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I have a bit of a conscience when it comes to this.

I would rather pay a little more and get the real thing… unless the real thing is way overpriced. Usually cheap knockoffs are about as cheap as you pay. But sometimes a well made distinctively designed item can be priced too high, where a copy-cat can make something pretty well decent in quality for the price. I don’t have a problem buying that… because you’re not buying something of the same quality. For instance, the arena of custom knives. Sometimes a knife is just so stratospheric in price… and then along comes a Chinese knock-off that’s actually pretty good. The original seller may cry that his sales are being cut into, but that’s not really true. If their rare knife is so expensive, the people who buy the knock-off wouldn’t be buying it anyway. PLUS… in a way it’s kind of free advertising. Because people with money will prefer to buy the “best”… and an attractive knock-off may alert them to the item.

But for the most part, I see a similar thing in the flashlight arena. Anyone remember the GatLight? Well, UniqueFire made a copy of it. And it was crap… aside from actually looking pretty decent. And now there’s a laser copy as well (green and red). The Gatlight is seriously expensive, so I highly doubt those who buy the cheapies would buy the real thing.

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